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Race for Peoria Mayor comes down to Rita Ali and Jim Montelongo

PEORIA (WEEK) - The unofficial results are in from the Peoria County Election commission and the race for Mayor is now down to two.

City council member Rita Ali received the most votes and second was fellow council member Jim Montelongo. Third was another council member, Sid Ruckriegel.

Ali could potentially be the first woman and person of color to hold the title of Mayor in Peoria. 

“I’m just pretty overwhelmed tonight by the level of support we’ve had from Peoria,” said Ali.

Leading into the general election Ali said her goal is to engage more voters and spread her message to the community. 

“This next 6 weeks we’re building more momentum. That’s what we want to do,” Ali said. 

Rita said if she does become mayor she would retire from her position at Illinois Central College to focus on being Peoria’s mayor full time. 

Councilman Jim Montelongo spent the night with friends and family at his WeaverRidge home as results came in Tuesday night.

Montelongo attributed his second place finish to a lot of mailers, knocking on doors, his work as an elected official, and that people trust him.

"It's been a track record of hard work in this community, over the last 12 years. I'm the person with 30 years of business experience, 12 years serving on this council, a masters in business administration, and I'm just going to keep on doing all this hard work that I've been doing," said Montelongo.

He said he now looks forward to the general election in April.

"We're gonna keep on with the same message, keep telling the truth...and getting our messaging out there to this community," he added.

Ruckriegel had served on the council since 2015 when he was then appointed by Mayor Jim Ardis after former State Senator Chuck Weaver left the council.

Ruckriegel held a private party at the Lariat Steakhouse in Peoria for friends and family Tuesday evening. The mood in the room, solemn surprise that he had lost.

Ruckriegel commended his team for "running a clean campaign."

One of his opponents, Jim Montelongo, most notably distributed campaign materials targeting Ruckriegel.

"Well I won't speak directly to that. I just know the character that someone runs through a campaign is usually the character they'll be in office with. Myself, I'm proud of the campaign we ran," said Ruckriegel.

Kyle Beachy

Kyle Beachy is a Multimedia Journalist for 25 News and Heart of Illinois. Born and raised in Kokomo, Indiana, he attended Indiana Wesleyan University where he studied Education and played baseball. He comes to us from Columbus, Ohio where he received a Master’s Degree from The Ohio State University.

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